documenta Parcours Staatspark Karlsaue
Public space in Kassel differs from that of other cities by virtue of the presence of outstanding outdoor objects from past documenta exhibitions. The exhibition series has made programmatic use of its urban environment through the step-by-step occupation of new settings. Every documenta since 1977 has featured site-specific works of art conceived as interventions into or commentaries on their urban context. In search of opportunities for greater social impact, art reacts to an increasing extent to its socially defined environment as a means of gaining new credibility beyond the boundaries of the exhibition context.Although all outdoor objects were originally planned as temporary exhibits, sixteen prominent installations have been permanently preserved: gifts or purchases of objects from documenta 6 (1977), 7 (1982), 9 (1992), 10 (1997), and 13 (2012). Whether or not such works remain in place is not determined by a systematic acquisition policy, but depends instead on popular engagement and the commitment of artists and sponsors. Thus the works are subject to different ownership and custodianship arrangements. The outdoor documenta objects differ not only in size and material composition but with respect to their artistic intentions as well. In any event, however, they represent important stages in the history of the world art exhibition and serve as examples of contemporary artistic approaches to urban and rural space at specific points in time.Given their public impact, these installations are a constant focus of public interest. Their creation and acquisition are always subject to critical commentary by local citizens. Their often controversial responses also reflect the changing arguments advanced in the discussion on art in public space.
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